Let’s face it, the economy feels a little doom and gloom right now. So we’re learning how to protect ourselves financially this week with the help of personal finance advisor Ramit Sethi. Hear him talk with Alice Bradley and Lifehacker’s personal finance writer Lisa Rowan about his practical tips for navigating this economically terrifying time. Ramit is the author of the New York Times bestseller I Will Teach You to Be Rich and founder of IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com.
After their conversation, stay tuned to hear Lifehacker’s health editor Beth Skwarecki speak with medical laboratory scientist Dr. Constantine Kanakis. Dr. Kanakis answers Lifehacker reader questions about all aspects of COVID-19 testing—from their reliability to the best time to take an antibody test.
Highlights from this week’s episode
From the Ramit Sethi Interview
On how to respond to the current economic downturn:
[T]he right thing to do in a situation like [this, is] overreaction. What does it mean? It means that, you know, we’re an optimistic culture. Americans we’re always, “Things are going to work out in the end. You know, we’re gonna walk off into the sunset holding hands.” And that cultural view really affects us and it can affect us poorly. We think, “oh, yeah. You know, the economy might be bad for a couple of months, but it’ll be back.” No. What if you get laid off and your partner gets laid off? What if your job is gone and your entire industry is gone forever? That is what overreaction means. It means you actually start planning for the worst and whatever you think is the worst, five times that. And that’s when you start to say, OK, I hope that doesn’t happen. I hope I’m overreacting. But just in case I’m going to make a plan.
On what steps you can take now to cut costs and start building an emergency fund:
There are five main areas where people can cut right now and and get cashback. So that is your cell phone bill, your cable bill, your credit card, your student loan and even your rent. You can call up these companies. You can tell them, hey, I’ve been a great customer for three years, COVID-19’s, making it difficult for me. What options do you have?…They’re not obligated to do it. But you would be surprised how many companies are because they don’t want to lose their customers. They’re long-term thinkers. They know that if you stick around, you’ll be worth a lot to them. [So] you might be surprised how many actually do.
From the Dr. Kanakis Interview
On considering whether or not you should take a COVID-19 test of any kind:
[W]hen people talk to their primary care provider or…if they just want access to it, they should consider keeping themselves and their family and friends safe first. There shouldn’t be this like mad scramble to go get tested. Just because results would come back positive or negative isn’t really gonna change anything in your day-to-day routine. So keep that in mind.
On why people shouldn’t feel automatically protected if they test positive on an antibody test:
I did a little bit of work on Zika, and when that was in the news in 2017, if you were infected with Zika, there was sort of its own vaccine, like the chickenpox. You know, if you got the virus, you were safe. This isn’t necessarily the same situation. This is sort of a mutant strain of a virus called the Coronavirus, which is one of our routine flu season bugs that we see every year. So if you’ve ever had a cold twice in one flu season, there’s a possibility that this might have the potential to be re-infectable.
To hear more of Ramit’s valuable insight on the money moves we should be making to protect ourselves right now, as well as more important information on all types of COVID-19 testing, we highly recommend listening to the full episode.
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